Report: Sodi ME Racing Team at Round 3 of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge

  • Ups and downs for Sodi Racing Team on their home track over the weekend
  • Drastic track conditions changes makes it difficult for the team
  • Huge experience for Sodi drivers throughout the weekend

A lot of testing was done ahead of this big Rotax MAX Challenge double header race weekend for all the UAE karting scene. Sodi Middle East Racing Team had promising performances during official practice on Thursday showing the pace in all categories. Here are reports from Round 3 of the RMC, on 20 November 2015, at the Dubai Kartdrome.


Qualifying: Difficult start for our Micro MAX category in qualifying, track conditions and grip conditions made it hard for the drivers to reach the top of the ranking. Anastassya Safonova joining the team for the weekend managed to get herself in eighth within five tenths of the leader, Georgie Zouein in 11th followed by Archie Sampson in 12th, Luis Velasco in 14th and Diaraf Keinde in 17th

Heat 1: Everything changed when our little rookies Luis Velasco and Archie Sampson managed a great start after avoiding a come together between Georgie Zouein and Safonova who unfortunately got a DNF in turn 3, Luis and Archie finally getting their pass to the font pack. After a stunning drive from both of them managing their positions the duo finished in fifth for Velasco and sixth for Archie Sampson, not far from Keinde in ninth.

Velasco: “With a brilliant start, a bit of luck and some amazing overtaking manouvers I managed to pull myself up to a mind-blowing fifth.”

Sampson: “Heat 1 was a great race for me as I managed to finish in 6th. After this race my confidence was running high”

Pre Final: Messy start in Pre-Final where our young rookies Velasco and Sampson found it hard to keep their places, despite some great moves and fights throughout the race Velasco dropped to P11 and Archie 15th. On the other hand Zouein managed a very good start on the inside and after avoiding few racing incidents found himself back in the top five with a fifth position. Safonova went up to 12th behind Velasco for the Final.

Final : Zouein managed to keep a 4th place battling out with Ali Al Shamsi, Keinde in 11th, Safonova 12th, Sampson 14th and Velasco 16th.


All started very well for Khaled Saab being one of the fastest in the Junior MAX during official practice and in qualifying, setting the fourth best lap time of the session – a mere 4ooth of a second behind the leader.

After a tough star Saab dropped two positions down to sixth after making a move on the outside that didn’t play in his favour and unfortunately dropped to ninth in Pre-Final after few mistakes on track. However he managed to regain two positions in the Final which moved him up to finish seventh.

Saab: “I understand that I need to work on my race craft and know I can push for a podium if I practice hard and we get the set up correct for the Al Ain rounds. The weekend started well with a qualifying of fourth place. But in the first heat I struggled and lost a lot of positions. This seemed to carry on for most of the weekend as I continuously had a hard time getting to the front of the pack.”


Difficult day for the Junior MAX quartet starting with a difficult qualifying heat where Eliot Jones managed a respectable seventh position, Logan Hannah 10th followed by Enzo Fontanella in 13th and Omar Alami in 14th.

In Heat 1, Jones managed to gain a position up to 6th and same for Hannah up to ninth. Unfortunately for Alami and Fontanella were out of luck and had to settle for finishing 12th and 13th respectively.

Jones: “In my first heat, the race was alright, however I’m not so sure what position I finished in. I think it was either 6 or 5. It was a good race’”

Still on his way to the top Jones showed a great pace with a good  lap time of 58.6 seconds, and was in the the battle for third place. After a long battle with Tehmur Chohan he had to surrender to fifth. Hannah made a fantastic start and after few good moves took the opportunity to finish fourth with a impressive speed.

Fontanella regained few positions up to ninth and Alami couldn’t finish the race due to a technical issue. Positions changed in final with Eliot Jones finishing sixth. It was an incredible comeback by Alami who stormed from the back of the grid to seventh. Fontanella finished a 10th behind his team mate in eight, while Logan dropped behind the group to ninth.


In the MAX class Jan Richtermeier set the pace for the Sodi Racing Team by claiming second position on the grid, with a strong lap time of 57.746 seconds followed very closely by teammate Abi Birch in fourth with 57.758 seconds and Fraser Rose in fifth with 57.882 seconds lap time.

Birch took the advantage in Heat 1 getting herself in third, two tenths behind fellow competitor Giulio Peroni. Richtermeier dropped three positions down to fifth and Rose down in seventh after few battles on track.

Richtermeier targeting the front row, made a place over Ahmed Akhamisi driving the same Sodi chassis to place himself behind Abi Birch in third. Rose was four seconds off the front pack, but nevertheless managed to get a position in sixth and to secure it up until the end.

In the Final it was unfortunately a difficult start for the trio ended in a bitter end for the team where they battled with Jakob Robinson and Lee Broadbank for the fourth place, but things ended with sixth for Rose, seventh for Birch and Richtermeier in eighth.

Richtermeier: “In my opinion I was too defensive on that day, I did not even attempted a single overtake. The kart felt really good but I wasn’t really in race mode. And that is exactly what I wanted to change for the following day”